Paramilitary Attack in Yajalon, Chiapas

August 7, 2000

Paramilitaries continue to occupy territory in the municipality of Yajalo'n they seized in an attack on August 3rd. The attack occurred at 10:30 a.m. in the community of "Tierra y Libertad" (formerly two communities: Paraiso and Progreso). The paramilitaries, from the group Paz y Justicia, arrived in a group of about 70-30 dressed as state public security forces, 40 in civilian clothing, three in masks-armed with pistols, R-15's, and 22 caliber rifles. They proceeded to loot farms, fire in the air and behind fleeing townspeople, burn six houses, and drive 48 families into the mountains.

The community was forced to flee quickly, and according to those interviewed much of the population is still in hiding. Two children were missing for two days and later found with dehydration and fevers from exposure. As of August 5th one child was still missing.

On August 6th the paramilitaries threatened journalists and human rights workers on the scene, but they had spoken with journalists after the attack. They told the Mexican daily La Jornada that the land they've occupied belongs to them; that they are the owners and that they will not allow the previous occupants, members of the EZLN's base of support, to return.

The land in question is actually the subject of a dispute that is still pending in an agrarian court. The members of Paz y Justicia who took part in the attack belong to a group that settled on the lands of Tierra y Libertad after those lands had been transferred to the members of the EZLN base of support. Those members of the EZLN base of support had lived and worked on these lands for over 25 years.

A formal legal complaint has been filed with the Public Ministry and the state prosecutor. The prosecutor has claimed that he knows nothing about the situation. Members of the community, however, saw public security forces enter the community after the attack-taking photos and doing nothing to stop the violence or aid the fleeing community members period. The presence of public security forces on the scene suggests that the prosecutor and the public ministry have access to ample information to take legal and police action against the members of "Paz y Justicia" present in "Tierra y Libertad."

Given the situation the Non-Governmental Organizations which sign below DEMAND:
1) That the National Prosecutor take the necessary action to disarm the members of Paz y Justicia present in the community of "Tierra y Libertad." 2) That the Public Ministry and the Governor of Chiapas move to gaurantee the lives and safety of all of the citizens of "Tierra y Libertad." 3) That the agrarian problem which gave rise to these violent agressions be resolved in a fair and timely fashion.
4) That the safety and mobility of human rights workers and journalists attempting to gain access to Tierra y Libertad be gauranteed by the Governor of Chiapas and the Public Ministry.

WE ENCOURAGE ALL THOSE IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISPLACED PEOPLES OF TIERRA Y LIBERTAD TO MAKE OUR DEMANDS RESONATE BY SENDING FAXES, EMAILS, AND BY HOLDING PROTESTS AND ACTIONS AT MEXICAN EMBASSIES AROUND THE WORLD.

President of the Republic of Mexico:
Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon
Email: webadmon@oppresidencia.gob.mx

Governor of the State of Chiapas
Lic. Roberto Albores Guillen
Tel/Fax: 5296120917 or 5296112418
Email: comsocgo@correo.chiapas.com

National Commission for Human Rights (Mexico) Fax: 5256312633
Email: cndh@laneta.apc.org

Senator Luis H. Alvarez (Head of Vicente Fox's Transition Team for Peace in Chiapas)
halvarez.pan@senado.gob.mx

Mexican Embassy in the United States
Attn: Jesus Ramirez Heroles Gonzalez
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington D.C., 20006 U.S.A.
Tel: (202) 728-1600
Fax: (202) 728-1698
Email:mexembusa@aol.com

Mexican Consulate in Austin
Attn: Rogelio Gasci Neri
200 East 6th Street, Suite 200
Austin TX. 78701 U.S.A.
Tel: (512) 478-2866
Fax: (512) 478-8008
Email: consulmx@onr.com

Mexican Consulate in Chicago
Attn: Carlos Manuel Sada Solana
2nd y 4th Floor, Chicago Il., 60601
Tel: (312) 855-1380
Fax: (312) 855-9252
Email: Info@consulmexchicago.com

Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia
Attn: Juan Manuel Lombera Lopez
111 S. Independence Mall
E. Suite 310, The Bourse Building
Philadelphia PA, 19106
Email: 103114.335@compuserver.com


Sincerely,

Enlace Civil A.C.
Chiapas Community Defenders Network
Alianza Civica
Autoridades Comunales de San Felipe Ecatepec, Municipio de San Cristo'bal Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolome' de las Casas Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada CIEPAC (Centro de Investigaciones Econo'micas y Poli'ticas, A.. C. ) CIUSPAZ (Ciudadanos San Cristobalenses por la PAZ) Coordinadora Regional de Contacto de los Altos de Chiapas por la Consulta Zapatista
DESMI
EAPSEC (Equipo de Apoyo en Salud Comunitaria) Jolom Mayaetik
K'inal Antzetik
Parejo Sk'otol
PRODUSSEP (Promocio'n de Servicios de Salud y Educacio'n Popular) SYJAC (Skoltael Yu'un Jlumajtik, A. C. )

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